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Valley Metro posts slight light-rail ridership gain in FY2011


Valley Metro reported ridership on its light-rail service increased slightly to 12.8 million in fiscal-year 2011 compared with 12.1 million in FY2010.

The agency registered the gain despite an 18 percent decline in sales tax revenue in FY2011, which resulted in reduced service, Valley Metro officials said in a prepared statement.

“The increase in ridership is validation that the community continues to see value in the service we provide,” Valley Metro Chief Executive Officer Steve Banta said.

Including bus service, total Valley Metro transit ridership slipped to 54.8 million in FY2011 vs. 55.6 million in FY2010.

Funding of Valley Metro’s operations primarily comes from sales tax revenue. In March 2010, the Arizona Legislature repealed the use of lottery funds, which provided $23 million annually to towns and cities to help fund transit operations. Fares cover about 25 percent of costs, Valley Metro officials said.